Some wine news these days seems beyond parody because the headlines read as if they were ripped from The Onion. In honor of April Fool’s Day, here’s a smattering of recent wine stories–see if you can spot the wine spoof in our bluff the reader challenge.
A. The Wine Advocate is set to release new “luxury lifestyle” magazine entitled “100 Points by Robert Parker.”
B. James Suckling has a crystal wine glass marketed as “100 points.”
C. A “Miracle Machine” was touted, which would turn water into wine in three days.
D. The French Senate debated a motion to declare wine part of the national heritage.
E. An organic grape farmer in France may be jailed and fined for not using pesticides.
F. Hail has ruined the vintage at Hong Kong’s only vineyard.
G. The SF Chronicle ran a piece about the “eco-friendly” next generation of vintners who love deer hunting and Porsche racing.
H. There really is a line of wines branded as Wine for Dummies.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Such is the case with the so-called “Miracle Machine,” a $499 countertop appliance that claimed to make water into wine in three days. The story had legs and ran away faster than Usain Bolt since it was picked up by a huge number of media outlets: According to one account, 600 publications wrote about the machine and the articles were read 500 million times. Philip James was the public face of the project; previously, he headed Snooth and then Lot18, where he raised over $40 million from investors before closing various product lines, having staff reductions, and, ultimately, stepping down.
Now, James has admitted the project is a hoax. In a video on winetowater.org, he Read more…
So the latest “uncorking a wine bottle with a shoe” video is making the rounds on Facebook. I know because tons of people who aren’t that into wine has sent it to me. Apparently, I’m not alone as it topped 100,000 views in just a couple of days. Now in its sixth day on Youtube, it has 850,000 views. And media outlets such has the Telegraph, Daily Mirror, and Today.com are still writing about it.
In brief, Chateau Mirabeau in Provence put together a nicely done, 50-second clip (above) showing how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe in lieu of a corkscrew. Intrigued about this method a few years ago, I tried it myself–and found it to be a Croc. Nonetheless, I compiled the ne plus ultra posting about “opening wine with a shoe” videos. Consider it something to send back to your friends who have shown an interest in the subject.
Someone asked if this method will aerate the wine. I’m not sure about that. But it will doubtlessly give the wine a lot of sole.
Just catching up with this story…last fall, Rogue Ales in Oregon announced they had sourced a new yeast strain from an unusual place–the brewmaster’s beard!
Given the huge correlation between the hirsute and the hipsters, beard yeast could be the yeast El Dorado for “natural” wines. I guess the only question would be if it had to be labeled as such?
Give him a hand! Oh wait, I guess he doesn’t need one.
Image: reduced-sized crop from AFP
It’s time for bluff the reader! To those at Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, all we can say is that a pale imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. One of these wine news items is true, the others are false. Hit the comments with the right answer!
A) The partying in the Olympic village is almost as legendary as the events on the field; US goalkeeper Hope Solo spilled the beans that “There’s a lot of sex going on,” guesstimating that about three quarters of the athletes at the Beijing Olympics passed more than the baton. Even though some athletes didn’t need any extra stimulation, one athlete told ESPN that he kept his performances entirely for the pool last time around out of shyness but his attitude changed for carnal encounters in London: “But now I’m a big man. So I can try. I will try.” Although the the media were not officially allowed in to the village, where over 10,000 athletes spent the Games packed into 3,000 apartments, word leaked out about the organizers’ extraordinary hospitality: In order to boost the goodwill at the Games, organizers distributed 150,000 condoms as well as 10,000 corkscrews. A mixed case of wine was in each apartment with a ribbon and a card saying “good luck” in 25 languages. The Games received much praise from the participants and the organizers underscored Team GB’s outstanding performance with 29 gold medals; Sebastian Coe highlighted the Britons’ spirit of generosity.
B) Hugh Johnson, OBE, horticulturist and dean of Britain’s wine writing, recently joined Twitter. The format may be ideally suited to the long-time writer, author of Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, an annual volume that contains brief wine reviews, sometimes even short enough to fit within Twitter’s 140 character limit. In a discussion of his reviews, Johnson let slip that he includes about a dozen reviews of totally fake wines in each volume. He invents a few winery names every year, appends bogus tasting notes, and waits for readers to contact him about where to find the wine. However, to date, nobody has ever done so.
C) There’s a famous scene in Real Housewives of New Jersey where a table gets overturned in anger, spilling the contents on the floor. Rather than cry over this spilled meal, the table’s flipper, Teresa Giudice, has decided to turn the TV lemons into a lemonade of her own: a product that removes red wine stains. Finding the celebrity wine market to be too crowded, a press release boasts that she now has the celerity wine stain removal market all to herself. Based on generations of accumulated housewife knowledge that pouring white wine on top of spilled red wine is the best stain remover, Giudice worked with wine entrepreneur Cameron Hughes to find some bulk white wine. They have labled the product “Lot 86,” a term Giudice says she chose to honor her restaurant days. “God knows we all spill a little f–king Merlot from time to time!” she said in an demonstration on The Ellen Degeneres Show. “Pay attention! Just pour on a bottle of this Lot 86 and the stains are gone. 86 red wine stains!”